April 22, 2005

Audioslave Brings Soundgarden and Rage ‘Out of Exile’

By Randy J. Klodz

The departure of two of the most popular bands in alternative rock, Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden left a void in the hearts of many fans of each band. Relief ensued when ex-Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell joined forces with Rage Against the Machine members—Tom Morello (guitar), Tim Commerford (bass), and Brad Wilk (drums)—to form Audioslave.

Audioslave has toured the States behind their 2002 self-titled hit debut album, but at the time stuck to keeping the identity of Audioslave in focus by choosing to not play Soundgarden or Rage Against the Machine selections during the tour’s live sets.

Now on tour behind the new album “Out of Exile,” which will hit stores May 24, and with a hit album behind them, Audioslave has opened the doors to playing hits from all three entities. The current spring tour came through Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom on April 22.

Mary Morello, mother to Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello, a Chicago native, took the stage first with microphone in hand and introduced Audioslave as “the best band in the world,” sending the sold-out Aragon Ballroom crowd into a deafening roar.

After beginning the set with Audioslave tracks “Set it Off,” “Exploder,” “Like a Stone,” and the new “Your Time Has Come,” Audioslave singer Chris Cornell reflected on a previous Aragon Ballroom performance in the 90s while he was fronting Soundgarden. “Years and years ago, I remember climbing all over this place,” he said, as he pointed toward the Aragon’s balconies, “that was crazy.”

This served as a fitting transition as Audioslave then busted out “Spoonman,” a fan-favorite Soundgarden track. The crowd’s rapid response following “Spoonman” put a smile on Cornell’s face and led the appreciative singer to say, “Thank you, thank you very much, we’re so lucky to be up here, thank you very much.”

This sign of appreciation was only the beginning. Just as Audioslave completed a rousing version of the band’s new single “Be Yourself,” Cornell declared that it was now time for the band to “bring things down a bit,” just as he exited the stage. Obviously, Cornell was in the mood for irony. Guitarist Tom Morello then took the mic and thanked the fans: “I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for how well you have treated all four of us over the years, this is for you.” He then tore into the opening chords of a powerful instrumental version of the Rage Against the Machine hit “Bulls on Parade.”

Cornell then joined at the completion of “Bulls on Parade” as Audioslave dove right into another Rage Against the Machine hit, “Sleep Now in the Fire.” This sent the surprised crowd into a tizzy and prompted Cornell to declare, “Who knew that together, we could all have this much fun.”

Audioslave also performed the Soundgarden hits “Outshined” and “Black Hole Sun,” of which the latter Cornell performed solo, along with an acoustic guitar, in an almost Bob Dylan-like manner.

Before ending the hard-hitting 90-minute set, Audioslave performed the Rage Against the Machines hit “Killing in the Name,” which sent the entire Aragon Ballroom floor into a raucous pit, and Audioslave’s debut hit “Cochise.”

Audioslave’s current fall tour of the States is slated to end May 20 when the band plays in The Wiltern LG in Los Angeles. For more information on Audioslave log on to www.audioslave.com.

Audioslave c/o Interscope Records